[This is the first of several posts about children’s books that will appear this weekend. The others will deal with candidates for the Newbery and Caldecott medals to be announced Monday morning. One-Minute Book Reviews will also have a post about the awards on Monday.]
A lot of children’s poems about February are sentimental odes to Valentine’s Day that ignore the less commercial joys of the month. Not John Updike’s “February,” a 16-line rhyming poem collected in the A Child’s Calendar (Holiday House, 32 pp., $6.99, paperback, ages 4 and up), which won a Caldecott Honor citation.
Updike focuses in the poem on seasonal changes such as snow, icicles and chickadees at a feeder. But he refers indirectly to Valentine’s Day in the last of his four quatrains: “And snipping, snipping / Scissors run / To cut out hearts / For everyone.” And Trina Schart Hyman beautifully supports his words with a warm, full-page watercolor image of children making valentines from tape, glue, crayons and pink and red paper. Just beyond a nearby picture window, an adult shows another kind of love for living things by refilling a bird feeder.
© 2009 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.